27 October 2009


"All things move, all things run, all things are rapidly changing"

Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) was an Italian Futurist painter born in Turin, Italy. Balla grew up studying music and turned to art upon the death of his father. Primarily self-taught, Balla's early works consist of landscape, portraits, and caricatures. He worked in Rome, where he became strongly influenced by modern industrialism, as well as the work of Marinetti. Around this time he became involved with the Futurists and helped them to write their Manifesto in 1910. He officially joined them stylistically around 1912, exploring topics of motion, machinery, and scientific advancements. Balla's style resided in this realm until 1930, when he shifted to an Impressionist approach and incorporated figurative subjects. Balla had a great impact on his contemporaries and those to follow, acquiring talented students such as Boccioni and Severini.

Abstract Speed- The Car Has Passed, 1913

Balla's Abstract Speed- The Car Has Passed is held in the Tate's collection and is a prime example of Futurism, "a movement which aimed to convey a sense of speed through art, seeing it as typifying the spirit of the modern age." The work was originally part of a triptych that sought to convey motion of the landscape as seen from the view of a car's passenger. The Futurists proclaimed: "The gesture which we would reproduce on canvas shall no longer be a fixed moment in universal dynamism. It shall simply be the dynamic sensation itself."

Streetlight 1910

Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, 1912

Hand of the Violinst, 1912

Speeding Automobile, 1912

Futurist Manifesto: We affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath—a roaring car that seems to ride on grapeshot is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.

Abstract Speed and Sound, 1913

Lines of Speed and Forms of Noise, 1913-1914

Swifts: Paths of Movement and Dynamic Sequences, 1913

The painting above was inspired by photographic images of animal locomotion that surfaced around this time. Balla portray's the bird's trajectory in space.

Study of Materiality of Lights and Speed, 1913

Mercury Passing in Front of the Sun, 1914

Sculptural Construction of Noise and Speed, 1914-1915

1 comment:

  1. as an admirer of Braque,I find these really compelling, and very forward looking. Streetlight and abstract speed look like effects I was trying to getting with long time exposures on 35mm film.

    quite a revelation.